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the year of grace 1685-we are informed in the naïve narrative of the Sieur Raveneau de Lussan-a jolly company of freebooters in the "South sea" (the Pacific west of the isthmus), of which he was one, descended upon the town of Granada, on the southern shore of Lake Nicaragua, in Central America. On the 7th of April, of that year, three hundred and forty-five men, chiefly English and French, and all of them very anxious to extend the benefits of French and English civilization to the Spanish and Indian inhabitants of the country, "went ashoar on a flat Coast," and were led by a good guide through a wood, marching night and day until the 9th, when "sharp Hunger" compelled them to rest in a great sugar plantation, four leagues distant from Granada. "It belonged to a Knight of St. James's, who, upon our arrival, we failed to take prisoner, our Leggs being at that time much more disposed to rest, than to run after him." On the 10th, they saw two ships upon Lake Nicaragua, carrying all the wealth of the town to an island two leagues off; and, after brief consultation, "we exhorted one another to fall on bravely," and advanced at a "round pace" to the attack. The freebooters lost but four men killed and eight wounded; "which, in truth, was very cheap." Thereupon, they repaired to the church and sang Te Deum, and then detached a party "to go and find out some women," to be ransomed; and finally sent word to the Spaniards that they must ransom the town, or it would be burnt. The Spaniards did not trouble themselves to answer; "which at last constrained some of us to set fire to the Houses out of meer Spight and Revenge." The pirates partly intended to pass through the Lake to the "North Sea" (Caribbean Sea), but wanting the facilities to do that, they cut their way back through ambuscades of Spaniards, and tropical forests, and deadly disease, reaching the shore again upon the 26th of the month; and so

got out of those parts of the World, which, though very charming and agreeable to those who are settled there, yet did not appear to be so to an handful of Men as we were, without Shipping, the most part of our time without Victuals, and wandering amidst a multitude

of Enemies, against whom we were obliged to be continually upon our Guard, and who did all that in them lay to deprive us of subsistence."

The artless tales of such earlier missionaries of human progress and the superior races in Central America, closely resemble those of their successors with whom we are contemporary. The Sieur de Lussan's foray upon Granada, read in quaint old type, has a little air of unreality, and the crime is so remote that it becomes almost romantic. But the same relation of the same transaction by a vagabond of our own time, told in yesterday's newspaper, is only shocking and disgusting in its details.

The old pirates were outlaws in an outlawed region. The inhabitants of the Spanish Main had been themselves robbers and spoilers. The provinces they occupied were subject to Spain, but Spain cared only to strain their treasure from them, drop by drop, like blood, to bloat her coffers. England and France were at war with Spain, and the easiest strokes they could deal, and the most deadly, were those upon the American possessions. For a century the shores of the Gulf of Mexico had been debatable ground. Removed from the neighborhood of any power which could make its laws respected in detail, the whole Central American region was convulsed with strife, as deadly and continuous as the elemental fury of the tropics. It was the arena of the world. Superstition and religious rage burnt there more wastingly than volcanic fires. The Holy Church of Rome sent over shiploads of racks and thumb-screws to allure the Indian lambs to the fold, and the pure religion and undefiled of the English Church withstood the dreadful cruelties of the Inquisition with bloody retaliation. The aboriginal inhabitants of the country-a mild and tender race-were the victims of all sides, and were ruthlessly conquered and enslaved by every victory. Gold was the object, and blood the means of the long sanguinary struggle which makes up the history of Central America; until, within a century, the torpor of pure exhaustion paralyzed the land, and it has lain for years upon the equator, moribund.

After the French revolution, both the

patrician and plebeian classes in Spanish America desired to separate from Spain. The former, because it feared that the reforms imposed upon the Spanish monarchy would be transplanted to the provinces, and destroy the patrician prerogative of absolute oppression; the latter, because the movement of North America and Europe had even stirred the stagnation of despotism in which the provinces were slowly decaying. In 1821, therefore, Spanish America became independent. Since that date, its internal history has been a record of constant differences, jealousies, and insurrections. The states have been ceaselessly fighting within their own limits, or with each other. They made a confederation and dissolved it. The world has not even heard the incessant quarrel, much less heeded it. But suddenly, in our day, the Central American States have again become of vast importance, and their affairs challenge daily interest and attention.

At this moment (March, 1857) there is a freebooter in one of those states, in much sorer plight than the old pirate de Lussan, when he and his friends sacked Granada, or the earlier pirate, Morgan, who burnt Panama; and, although nearly two hundred years have passed-and even two hundred years ago in England, at war with Spain, the citizens of London did not publicly assemble to express their sympathy for de Lussan-yet, in New York, to-day, in the chief city of a country that has nominally some especial Christian and democratic claims, the citizens are summoned to express, publicly, their hopes of the victory of de Lussan's successor, who has ordered the same Granada to be burnt to the ground. And as the old pirates coupled their carnage with Te Deums, the new ones consecrate theirs with poor sentimentality about the progress of the Saxon race and democratic equality.

At least, the old murderers of the Spanish main had the merit of cutting throats without canting. They wanted plate, and pieces of eight, and they said so plainly, and they butchered the inhabitants until they found them. Being anxious for information, and pressed for time, on one occasion, Lolonois, a French buccaneer of the seventeenth century, drew his cutlass and cut open the heart of one of the Spaniards who did not reply quickly enough, and. "pulling out his heart, began to bite

and gnaw it with his teeth, like a ravenous wolf, saying to the rest, 'I will serve you all alike, if you show me not another way.'

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Walker had other objects than present booty merely; but the sufferings he has occasioned are a thousand-fold more dreadful than those usually recorded as the consequences of the old forays. And to what end? Month after month, now for nearly two years, young men have been shipped by responsible agents in New York and New Orleans to Nicaragua, and for what purpose? Hundreds have gone-not three hundred remain above groundby whose means-to what end? Was it a scheme of colonization in good faith? We have not seen a solitary man who believes so; but assuming it, then it has failed so disastrously that every city and village in the country should warn anybody, who intends to emigrate, of the facts. Was it a scheme of assistance to one of two contending parties, in good faith? Then why are both those parties in arms, to a man, against the invader? Having fulfilled his mission, or failed in it, why is he still lingering? Is all this blood, and grief, and desolation of a country, the consequence of commercial ambition? Then merchant princes are as inhuman as Indian caciques. Is it all part of an agitation to be used for the benefit of the great Christian blessing of slavery? Then its facts should be made patent to every voter in the land.

Walker, himself, is an adventurer in whose whole career there is not a solitary indication of ability. He is, we understand, a Tennesseean, about thirty-six or eight years of age; who has studied law and medicine; has edited newspapers in New Orleans and San Francisco; practiced law in Marysville, California; and, in the year 1854, at the head of fifty or sixty missionaries of human progress and democratic equality, proclaimed himself President of Sonora, a small Mexican State border

ing upon California. His presidency

was very brief, and ended in a trial in California for a violation of the Neutral

ity Laws. He was acquitted; for the California of four years ago naturally judged such lapses lightly, and his services in the van of empire were not required again until he received, in the spring of 1855, a commission, as general, in the army of Nicaragua, and a

grant of 58,000 acres of land. On the 5th of May, in that year, he sailed for that country with fifty-six followers.

Nicaragua is one of the loveliest of tropical states; rich in natural products, and, upon its Pacific slopes, not unhealthy in climate; while, through its lake and river, it offers a convenient and rapid transit from sea to sea. Its government is nominally republican; but the languor and ignorance of its inhabitants, who are of mixed races, keep it in a semi-barbarous condition, without manufactures or industry, or any practical improvement of its natural advantages. It has been constantly embroiled in civil wars since the dissolution of the Central American Confederacy, in 1838. It is not necessary to state the details of these struggles. It is enough to know that, in the month of May, 1854, there had been a battle which resulted in the assumption of two governments in the country-the liberal, which had its headquarters at Leon, the old capital of Nicaragua, and the legitimist (as the government party called itself), which centred at Granada. The latter faction held the southern portion of the state; and the former occupied the northern. After the battle, in May, 1854, the liberals besieged Granada for ten months; but, in February, 1855, retired, and, pursued by the legitimists, a bloody battle was fought between the factions, at Massaya, which was disastrous to the liberals.

In May, 1855, Walker and his fiftysix men arrived from California, and, at the end of June, marched, with two hundred Nicaraguan liberals, upon Rivas, a city upon Lake Nicaragua, occupied by the legitimists. The attack was repulsed. Walker and his fifty-six men had taken up their position in a house, which the enemy fired, and the ex-president of Sonora and his men cut their way back to the coast of San Juan del Sur. There was some skirmishing during the summer; and, in October, at the head of two hundred Americans, and two hundred and fifty natives, Walker took possession of one of the Transit Company's steamers, at Virgin Bay, sailed to Granada, which lies upon the lake, and captured the city after a few shots, while the enemy were expecting him at Rivas, forty miles distant. A treaty followed between the two parties, and a government selected from both sides was constitut

ed. Don Patricio Rivas, who had been an official under the legitimist rule, was made provisional president for fourteen months: Walker was commander-in-chief of the army; Corral, the legitimist general, was minister of war; Parker H. French, an ex-California editor, minister of the Hacienda; Don Firmin Ferrer, a gentleman of Granada, minister of public credit; and General Maximo Xeres (who had been the predecessor of Walker in the command of the liberals), minister of foreign affairs. This government was recognized by Mr. Wheeler, minister of the United States, the only foreign minister then resident in Nicaragua. But, unfortunately, the new government commenced by shooting its mini ter of war, who was detected in treasonable correspondence with the enemy; and by sending Mr. French to Washington as minister, who was not recognized by the United States Government; and also by dispatching Major Louis Schlessinger as ambassador to Costa Rica, to propose a treaty of amity, which that state answered by declaring war upon Nicaragua-doubtless, regarding Walker as the small European states regarded Napoleon, as no less dangerous a friend than enemy.

These steps were not auspicious; but the Rivas-Walker government was not inactive. In the year 1849, the State of Nicaragua had granted a right of way through the country to a steamship company, upon certain conditions. Of course, during the incessant internal wars this steam-ship company's property was liable to heavy taxation, and it naturally desired peace. It was noticed in this country and in England, that Walker had used the ships of that company for his transport upon the lake. Some kind of mutual intelligence was, consequently, inferred; but in February, 1856, to the amazement of everybody, and especially of Nicaragua stockholders, the Rivas-Walker government seized the property of the company, upon the ground that the conditions of the compact between it and the state had not been observed, estimating the company's debt to the state at $300,000, and its property at $200,000, and thereupon transferred the grant to other parties, supposed to be commercial rivals of the original grantees. The representatives of the old grantees applied for aid at Washington; but the

United States Government proffered no consolation in the premises. Meanwhile the Costa Ricans had marched into Nicaragua, and were in possession of Rivas, one of the chief towns of that State. Here a disastrous battle was fought in April, 1856. Both armies were nearly destroyed. The Costa Ricans tottered home again, and Walker fell back upon Granada. A decree had been issued granting two hundred and fifty acres of land to every emigrant who would come and settle upon it; and, under this pretense, hundreds of men left the United States, although the president issued his proclamation against the violation of the Neutrality Laws. At length the other states of Central America began to take up arms, apprehending an application of fillibusterism to their own territories.

Fully to secure the ultimate purpose of this movement in Nicaragua, it was necessary for the Rivas-Walker Government to be sustained by the United States, and Mr. French having failed to be received, a priest of Granada, and a native Nicaraguan, the Padre Vijil, was sent to Washington, and was recognized there as minister. Actual relations were now established with the United States. The army was under command of Walker; all the foreign intrigue in the state, of course, passed through him; he had perfect intelligence with the Transit Company, and with the emigration that poured in under its auspices, to encourage which, a free passage was, at one time, offered from New Orleans and New York to Nicaragua-the American newspapers, especially at the South, were loudly celebrating this emancipation of Central America from ignorance and despotism; the subject excited profound political attention; all kinds of political possibilities began to glimmer in the future, simultaneously with the tragical debate of the extension of slavery in Kansas; inchoate ideas filled many minds; theories of the indomitable Saxon race, the march of empire, the republicanization of the continent, superior and inferior people, all the sentimental variations of manifest destiny-meaning "to get what you can, and hold what you get"-became very conspicuous in newspapers and conversation.

They became so conspicuous that President Rivas took the alarm at last, as Costa Rica had done at first,

and being the head of the government, of which he had been named provisional president for fourteen months, by the treaty of peace, dated October 23, 1855, and so in good faith to continue, "unless the president, in full council of ministers, should resolve to call an election before the end of the time," (Art. II., of the Treaty), he resolved to assert his rights as chief of the government; and, naturally suspecting the intentions of the commander-in-chief, Walker, President Rivas, with his minister of war, Salazar, departed to Leon in the month of June, 1856, and declared the government to be removed to that city. This was irregular, because, by the second "additional" article of the Treaty of Peace, the government was to reside in Granada; but it was a justifiable measure of public safety, Walker being at that time in treasonable correspondence with a Cuban adventurer.

Upon Rivas's retirement to Leon, Walker proclaimed him and his minister-at-war, Salazar, traitors, and ordered a new election for president, which was held on the 24th of June. Walker was elected, as Louis Napoleon was elected Emperor of France; and, a few weeks afterward, he caused Salazar to be put to death at Granada. The pretended election of Walker reduced the country to the precise condition in which the Fillibuster found it, upon his arrival thirteen months before. Since June, 1856, there have been two governments in Nicaragua; the one composed of foreigners headed by Walker, and the other, of native Nicaraguans and other Central Americans, chiefly Costa Ricans, allies of their neighbor Nicaragua. On the 19th of August, Walker's government was recognized by Mr. Wheeler, who had acknowledged the Rivas-Walker government. The Padre Vijil returned, and Walker hastened to appoint his successor, but Mr. Oaksmith and Don Firmin Ferrer, who have been successively sent by him to Washington, have not been received by our government, which, to the honor of Mr. Marcy be it said, has declined officially to countenance an adventurer in a foreign state, merely because he chanced to be born an American.

From the moment of his election as president to the present, William Walker being thrown entirely upon his

own resources, without the favor of the United States government, without the support of a Nicaraguan party, which has entirely deserted him, or of the steam-ship company, which is practically powerless for the time, its boats being seized by the native army, has exposed to the whole world the measure of his capacity. The man, who, a year since, having the semblance of right upon his side, was the active agent of the government which held the capitals and controlled the resources of the country, has discovered that that semblance of right was his whole power. Totally unable to cope with the circumstances of his position, he now (March, 1857) skulks along the road between the Lake and the Pacific, a conspicuous criminal, a forlorn adventurer, the contemptible captain of a hundred wretched men, starved, demoralized, and utterly miserable; himself the direct occasion of an extremity of human suffering, the story of which is like that of the plague in Napoleon's army at Jaffa.

And grave men and grave journals contemplate the ridiculous, and, in respect of others, tragical career of this incompetent Bombastes, and philosophize about the destiny of our country in overspreading the continent.

Mr. William Walker's personal views are as important as those of the old pirate Morgan, or his compeer Lolonois, or Roche Brasiliano, or Bartolomeo Portugues, or Captain Kidd; but any such man, used as a tool, becomes immediately important, and it is, therefore, quite worth while to know what was the meaning of this descent upon Nicaragua, if it meant anything beyond a personal scrabble for power and booty. Nor is it very difficult to ascertain.

The Rivas-Walker government was established in Nicaragua in the autumn of 1855. On the 11th of January, 1856, Walker made a contract with a Captain F. A. Laine, agent of Domingo de Goicouria, “sole holder and depository of the goods and chattels belonging to the cause of Cuba, consisting in money, a vessel, and munitions of war." To this contract, Walker agrees firstly, to help Cuba and "her liberty," after he has consolidated the peace" of Nicaragua; secondly, he makes common cause of the resources of Nicaragua, with those of the revolu

tionary party of Cuba; thirdly, he requires a full statement of the Spanish resources upon the island; and fourthly, he and Capt. Lainé accept the whole as the preamble of a more elaborate contract. In consequence of this agreement, in the following March, Domingo de Goicouria went to Nicaragua, and was made Brigadier General in Walker's army; Walker having made these promises without the knowledge, so far as appears, of his government; disposing of Nicaragua as if he were already that state-and afterward declaring the government invalid, when it was removed by President Rivas to Leon, in consequence of such treachery as this.

We are far from supposing that Walker necessarily meant to keep the contract, because he signed it. His first necessity was munitions of war and money, and he was, doubtless, very willing to purchase them upon such easy terms as his word. If he did mean to keep the contract, it proves the ultimate intention which other events revealed; if he did not, it illustrates the quality of his honor. The Cuban movement in the United States, as explained and justified at Ostend by His Excellency, James Buchanan, the Hon. Pierre Soulé, and Mr. Mason, is no secret. It is notoriously a movement for the extension of slavery. is not surprising, therefore, that some time subsequent to the signing of this contract, between Goicouria's agent and Walker, that eminent American citizen and lover of liberty, the Hon. Pierre Soulé, went to Nicaragua, and established relations with the Fillibuster.


By this time-the summer of 1856-the great contest between slavery and freedom upon this continent had been brought to open battle. For the first time in our political history, a vast party was organized upon the fundamental principle of no further slavery extension. The difference came to blows, and blood, and anarchy, in the territory of Kansas; and to the most searching and solemn debate and vote, throughout the country. The slavery party, accustomed to victory, were amazed at the vital earnestness of the struggle, and could with difficulty understand how a people, which had only made mouths at the fugitive slave law, and had only murmured protests against the repeal of the Missouri

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